Beyond Banana Boats: Benefits of Summer Camp

YMCA of Greater Houston Camp Cullen—girls with c'sIt was a great summer at YMCA Camp Cullen – full of memories, friendships, confidence, skills, first-time experiences, cheers and laughter! More than just a retreat, camp was a valuable resource to grow and educate campers.


You’re probably familiar with the summer learning loss. Your children fall prey to it when they spend their summers not engaging in educational activities. Your children can help avoid this…at camp.

YMCA of Greater Houston Camp Cullen—boys huggingCamp Cullen’s priority is equipping children with new skills, opportunities for friendships and tools to become a better version of himself or herself. Character growth learned at camp leads kids to be more well-rounded individuals.

This growth is fun! Campers love the “camp experience.” When they first arrive, their excitement is tangible. They run, scream, take cabin photos, paint their handprints onto the session flag, learn cheers and meet counselors.

Camper Natalie T. says she loves coming to camp because “everyone is so nice and it’s easy to make new friends. The best part is that I get to do all the activities with my friends.”

These friendships provide a support structure children need. In addition, research supports that involvement in positive outside-of-school activities correlates with academic success. Children who are involved in extracurricular activities walk away with better test scores, attendance, homework completion, and grades.

YMCA of Greater Houston Camp Cullen—boy waterskiingACTIVITIES

During time on land, campers can take a film-making program, go horseback riding, climb the high ropes course and zip-line, learn archery or riflery, participate in geology, mineral discovery and more. During their time in the water, they can cut through the lake on Banana boats, learn sailing, kayaking and canoeing, hang on tight for a wild tubing ride, and perfect their balance on the paddle boards.

“Campers are free to choose what they do which develops their independence,” says Camp Director Mish Hood. “Most spend more time in nature than they ever have before.”

“Something I will always remember about Camp Cullen is the feeling of freedom and the outdoors,” says camper Sophia Q. “I will always remember coming here and making memories.”

YMCA of Greater Houston Camp Cullen—boy flying through airTOOLS FOR IMPACT

While the activities and time in nature may sound like all fun and games, they are actually the camp’s tools for impact. “Whether it be a Banana boat ride, a climbing tower or a horse,” says Mish, “we are looking to grow a child’s confidence, equip them to make good decisions, and help them form lifelong bonds with their new camp friends.”

Each activity challenges campers differently. Some push them to the limits of their comfort zone while others allow them to thrive while doing what they love. Camp Cullen’s award system focuses on expanding campers’ horizons and encouraging them to learn new skills they can take from camp to the real world.

YMCA of Greater Houston Camp Cullen—kids on Banana boat“It takes me out of my comfort zone and pushes me to be better,” says camper Audry S. “Being encouraged to participate makes me feel like I’m included in the group.”

This feeling of belonging fosters teamwork and collaboration; kids learn to communicate with one another to work in unison. These lessons are the ones that stick with a child into adulthood and follow them the rest of their lives.

If you’d like to check out YMCA Camp Cullen, come to one of our Weekend and Family Camps, a wonderful way to spend time with your family in the great outdoors and see what Camp Cullen has to offer.

Receive a discount of $100 off when you register your child for summer camp before September 30th!

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